Taxpayers Pay For Capitol Hill Sexual Harassment Settlements, Too

There is some money to be made for Capitol Hill staffers. No, not salary-wise, ha. In harassment settlements! Get a job with the most pervy congressman (all of them), wait for the inevitable "comment," and let taxpayers cash you out.

Politico reports that "taxpayers have paid out nearly $1 million per year in settlements to congressional employees who have been harassed or otherwise treated badly by their political bosses over the past 14 years."

2007 was a particularly good year to get lots of taxpayer money.

In fiscal year 2007, for example, the [Office of Complaints] - an agency that administers a confidential dispute resolution system - settled 38 cases, with 25 resulting in monetary awards worth $4 million. In fiscal year 2009 - the most recent year reported by the OOC - the office settled 13 cases for nearly $830,000.

The OOC would settle many, many more cases, too, but going to the OOC over "stuff that happened" carries a stigma for staffers, since they're essentially destroying their employers' careers should these complaints find their way to the public.

"Being a Hill employee is different from other places because the job is about your name. Bringing a claim is like asserting you aren't loyal enough. Someone who is loyal wouldn't bring problems like this up," said Alexis Rickher, an employment discrimination lawyer with Katz, Marshall & Banks who is currently helping represent one of [ex-Rep. Eric] Massa's accusers. "With the Massa mess, it's clear that the younger staffers didn't have a sense of when things cross the line."

So the lesson is: when they start gay-tickling you, go to the OOC for the $$$. Going for anything less makes you a traitor, to America.

[Photo of Eric Massa via Getty Images]